Shoppe Talk ~ Inspiration ~ Wedding Photography, 100 Years Ago, Part One

July 19, 2010

Here is this week's first post from Mariann! Artists in all fields have been using history for inspiration for many years, Mariann reminds us that we are not an exception. Wedding Photography, 100 Years Ago PART ONE: Seeing in Stereo Hi, Shoppe fans! My name is Mariann, and I will be a regular contributor to the Shoppe Talk Blog. I’ll be chiming in with my experience and findings as I look for interesting portals into and out of the photographer’s world, as well as sharing bits of history and kernels of inspiration. This week, we’ll be taking a peek at what different approaches to wedding photography looked like at the turn of the century, through the lens of photography history. Think of these posts as a tasting menu; the images and stylistic differences herein are only a blush of the deep and rich recipe book of the medium’s history. In the early 1900s, photography was at a new prime. It had worked itself up to be a mighty entity, with its own industry and art culture. A particular photographic form that was in its heyday at the time was the stereograph. Stereo images were made by using a special camera that had two lenses placed apart from each other to mimic the anatomical arrangement of the human eyes. Two simultaneous exposures were made, one from each lens. Accordingly, the print would feature side-by-side images that, when observed through a special viewer, would create a three-dimensional image. The technology was popularly used for its ability to produce a dramatic viewing experience of images of exotic locales and breathtaking landscapes. Here is a ‘stereo card’ of Bridal Veil Falls from a Yosemite Valley image series. (See how I kept that in the wedding theme? :) ) 01-stereo-BRIDALVEILFALLS-WEB “Bridal Veil Falls,” 1875, John P. Soule, publisher. Referenced from the Library of Congress. Stereo photography later grew into wider application, and made for an interesting format for wedding photography. Imagine the drama of seeing the bride passed out--in 3-D! 02-fainting-bride-1900-WEB “The Fainting Bride,” c.1900, published by the American Stereoscopic Company. Referenced from the Library of Congress. Here is an image made during the benediction of a wedding ceremony. You can see the quantity of potted palms and rose bushes that adorned the sanctuary, which was the fashion of the era. 03-stereo-Benediction-1906-WEB “The Benediction,” 1907, published by the Sterro-Photo Company. Referenced from the Library of Congress. This next photo is by photographer C. L. Wasson, from the wedding of Alice Roosevelt. Alice was the daughter of President Theodore Roosevelt. She was married to House Representative Nicholas Longworth in 1906. Again, notice the masses of potted greenery--they make a dramatic frame here, in the way the scale plays with the size of the subjects. 04-Roosevelt-Stereograph-WEB “President Roosevelt, with Alice Roosevelt-Longworth and Hon. Nicholas Longworth in Bridal Array,” 1906, C. L. Wasson. Referenced from the Library of Congress. This next image is also from C. L. Wasson. This one is only half of the stereograph, so we can better see the detail in this great shot. Wasson captured the moment at such a fabulous angle. Image seeing this stereograph in 3-D--we could practically join in to toast the bride. Three cheers for stereographs! 05-toast-bride-stereo-WEB “A Toast to the Bride,” 1905, C. L. Wasson. Referenced from the Library of Congress. Stay tuned for the next installment of our glance back at wedding photography at the turn of the century...

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